||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Bengali Brahmin. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2012.|
A Pirali Brahmin is any member of a subgrouping of Brahmins found throughout Bengal, which is split between India and Bangladesh. Notably, Rabindranath Tagore and the Tagore family are members of this group. The term "Pirali" historically carried a stigmatized and pejorative connotation; its eponym is the vizier Mohammad Tahir Pir Ali, who served under a governor of Jessore. Pir Ali was a Brahmin Hindu who converted to Islam; his actions resulted in the additional conversion of two Brahmins brothers. As a result, orthodox Hindu society shunned the brothers' Hindu relatives (who had not converted), and the descendants of these Hindu relatives became known as the Pirali Brahmins — among whom numbered the Tagores. This unorthodox background ultimately led the Tagore family to dispense with many of the customs followed by orthodox Brahmins and subsequently they embraced the Brahmo sect of Hinduism.
- Thompson, Jr., E (1926), Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Dramatist, Read, p. 12, ISBN 1-4067-8927-5,
The [Tagores] are Pirili Brahmans [sic]; that is, outcastes, as having supposedly eaten with Musalmans in a former day. No strictly orthodox Brahman would eat or inter-marry with them.
- (Dutta & Robinson 1995, pp. 17–18).